Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4 Ways Social CRM can Impact the Performance of Customer Services Teams

Single interface for managing cases
Customer services can make or break organizations by ensuring an unbeatable competitive advantage and low churn rates. Implementing an effective social CRM provides organizations with control over customer services from customers' preferred social media channels and improves their perceptions of your brand!

Four key areas related to Social Media where companies use CRM solutions to control and monitor customer experience across media channels:
  • Monitoring social media trends
  • Minimizing adverse effects of social media feedback
  • Maintaining confidentiality of customer service responses
  • Ensuring your products and services are progressively getting better

Monitoring Social Media Trends
Effects that customer service departments and upper management can derive from social media can vary from valuable to scary! Social CRM provides a handle on what role social media plays on the customer service experience and the image of a company. The CRM solution has the ability to capture conversations and profiles from most social media streams on an ad hoc basis. This data can then be analyzed for keywords as indicators that reflect over all customer sentiment - positive, negative, neutral, etc. This provides valuable information related to popularity monitoring for products, services and competitors, it is particularly useful for the upper management's proactive decision-making. Having this time stamped information from social media sources provides corollaries to new product releases, company media announcements, stock market presence, company's image and general popularity. 

On the scary side, there is a danger of leading customers on to believing that a social media posting constitutes a bona fide complaint or service request submission to the company. Because most social media is conducted through a third party medium, customers need to be made aware of the correct direct channels of communications for formal submission of cases to a company. All social media responses to Facebook, Twitter, Instant Messenger and even emails should indicate specific phone numbers and internal email addresses to provide clients the proper path to get their problems addressed by company staff directly. 

The last thing a company needs is to create an environment where negativity can be amplified in a public arena. Social media should not be the official means whereby issues are dealt with by the company staff. All final communication on behalf of clients should remain private not public. Though, with social CRM it is easy to monitor conversations in real-time across networks using specific keywords to search for user-generated content. The most relevant cases can be assigned in order of priority to specialists to resolve or bookmark. Most effective CRM solutions enable users to respond via the same social media or through a secure email/ SMS with an automatically created activity which is attached to related record. All official issues are then dealt with formally and professionally between employees and their prospective/ existing customers.

Minimizing the adverse effects of social media feedback
Utilizing social CRM to monitor social networks is definitely useful for staying on the ball and avoiding customer churn. As social media trends are identified and analyzed, the CRM solution can send automated responses for generic conversations captured by the system using auto-populated templates to ensure customers remain in-the-loop. Responding to queries and complaints from within the CRM software ensures the following:
  • Effective activity management: track each telephonic and email conversation with details of related records for captured social posts.
  • Automated responses by email/ SMS: to reduce turnaround time, automated responses can be sent by email or SMS with details populated from the captured conversation's records.
  • Quick access to multiple networks' profile information: when providing the optimal solution to leads or customers, CRM users can access their profile information posted across networks through a single interface to deduce specific likes and dislikes.
  • Alerts: managers can receive alerts for captured conversations that match a specific criteria like 'has open opportunity' or 'lead amount >$999'.
  • Approvals: before executives respond to social conversations related to cases, the solution can be automatically sent through a quick approval process which ensures communications are consistent and match regulatory/ compliance norms.
  • Escalations: responses to social commentary need to be quick and effective, unattended complaints via social networks should get immediate attention, if not, escalated to reporting managers to take decisive action and avoid embarrassment for the company through negative feedback on a social forum.
Social CRM is an effective tool for CSRs to ensure a consistent customer experience and enable the top management to remain alert.

Maintaining confidentiality of customer service responses
An implemented CRM solution can monitor ad-hoc posts from all social media platforms. This information can be made available for perusal of the company staff on all levels for quick analysis of the latest customer needs and competitors. Alternately, conversations captured can be assigned to specific logged-in users with read/ write permission on the basis of their location, product, sentiment, type of case, priority, SLA, etc. A workflow can be incorporated in the CRM solution for assigning different levels in the hierarchy with their individual visibility and edit rights. All in all, organizations need to ensure responses to social conversations match company strategies and rules before being made visible to customers and their peers.

Ensuring your products and services are progressively getting better
Social media presence is important for showing consumers that a company cares enough to create a presence in their preferred social media channels. Automated functions available with social CRM can search for keywords in social media derived data to look for common trends in the conversations. In this manner, the CRM software provides an accurate pulse on public sentiment regarding new product releases, company media announcements and customers' perceptions about their company in general. The CRM is an invaluable tool for collating and determining consumers' opinions as they post their commentary in the form of tweets, blogs and posts. Posting links that refer to a company's published content on a popular network ensures a higher volume of viewers and their corresponding comments. For example, Does the new logo look better than the old one? The most vital findings from analyzing and breaking down social conversations can be used to update products and services to match expectations and increase lead referrals.

A final note
It is my personal opinion that social media presence should always move the attention of the existing/ prospective customers for any company back to the official website and publications. In this manner, marketing awareness, accountability and timelines are directly linked to the company's performance. Social media should be use to reach out, increase exposure and generate new connections. Social media is the real-time “word-of-mouth” aspect of customer strategy and its effect can be directed and amplified through the facilitation of a robust financial CRM solution, giving both upper management and customer service an advantage in providing the best customer satisfaction.


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